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NousDefionsDoc
01-17-2007, 18:54
When To Train Like An Athlete
January 17, 2007: Every time there's a war, things happen that, in hindsight, should have been so obvious. Case in point is the load infantry are carrying in Iraq, and subtle changes in tactics because of the introduction of new weapons and equipment. Turns out that the troops are not in the best physical shape for the loads they are carrying, and the work they do. The physical conditioning the troops have been getting for years needs to be changed. It's a different kind of war, and the troops, despite all the running and weight work they do, are not in the best shape for it.

The latest generation of body armor, and the need to carry around lots of ammo and water, means troops are spending many hours running around in hot weather, carrying lots of weight. Moreover, most of the combat is urban, meaning there's a lot of running up stairs, and jumping through windows. What military physical conditioning experts are also noting are the changes in training among professional athletes. The military has long taken their physical training clues from what professional, and college, athletes are doing. And what those well prepared civilians are doing are exercises to make people most ready for exactly what they have to do. This not only makes the troops more capable in combat, but reduces injuries from sprains, pulled muscles and the like.

Thus the interest in developing new physical training programs that will aid guys who have to hump over a hundred pounds of body armor, weapons and equipment up several flights of stairs, dive over furniture, or quickly hit the ground during a firefight. The U.S. Marine Corps, as is their custom, is in the lead with this, but the army and SOCOM are not far behind.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20070117.aspx

I believe that a certain element of SOCOM is well in the lead and it is not the USMC.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-17-2007, 19:06
I believe that a certain element of SOCOM is well in the lead and it is not the USMC.

I believe you are right. Many of us for years trained as we expected to fight and PT for PT sake was relegated to only those that placed the AFPT as the be all and end all but for the rest of us it was one of those semi-annual events about as important as the annual reading of Standards of Conduct.:D

NousDefionsDoc
01-17-2007, 20:26
Sir,
Pardon the question, but what is the "Standards of Conduct"? Reaper was my TL. :)

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-18-2007, 05:05
Sir,
Pardon the question, but what is the "Standards of Conduct"? )

Standards of Conduct, AR 600-50 IIRC, was required reading for certain levels of commands and organizations. It was read annually, it required a roster of signatories to "prove" that all those concerned read it, and it had to do with ethical behaviour. It was one of those things that if you read it and found something you didn't know about you must have come to earth through the "Stargate". It changed nothing, created nothing, allowed commands to think that they had done their "ethical" behaviour modification for yet another year, and was filed in the appropriate place where the chain of command could get to it to cover their fourth points of contact when there was an "ethical" breach of some kind. It sort of falls in that group of publications of too little too late for those whose professional ethics were sorely lacking. I group it with some other page burners like FM 23-100 where the philosophy and the how toos of Senior Leadership and Command are laid out as if they could give you an innoculation to wipe away all the things you did wrong getting there or unpack and clean all the baggage you carried along the way.

The Reaper
01-18-2007, 07:25
Sir,
Pardon the question, but what is the "Standards of Conduct"? Reaper was my TL. :)

Since we were Sky Gods, we were either given a waiver, or assumed to be incorrigible.

Did you really want another mandatory class?

TR

incommin
01-18-2007, 08:57
Mandatory classes have their place.......most are a waste of time.....their only redeeming value is to provide something to bitch about.

Jim

The Reaper
01-18-2007, 09:18
With all due respect, I cannot think of a single mandatory class, be it OPSEC, COO, Sexual Harrassment, Drug and Alcohol Programs, or any of the other annual requirements that were worth the lost training time.

As the Colonel noted, if you are the type to abuse your position, sitting through a class is not going to change the way you think.

They might possibly be of value to a brand new soldier, but I cannot think of too many ODAs that benefitted at all from them, and they wasted valuable time.

TR

NousDefionsDoc
01-18-2007, 09:26
What should the PT test be?

I would like to see something like:
1. 12-mile hump
2. Some kind of buddy carry type deal
3. Obstacle course

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-18-2007, 09:57
What should the PT test be?

I would like to see something like:
1. 12-mile hump
2. Some kind of buddy carry type deal
3. Obstacle course

I think that is a good start, but I also think you need to incorporate environmental aspects that you can expect to face:heat-cold, dry-wet, day-night. Some of it can be addressed in the obstacle course which needs to address both stamina and strength and I don't think you need to do all aspects at the same time. For instance, I gave my teams a requirement ( one among many) to be able to move cross country, with specific equipment for particular events under a variety of weather and light conditions. After what I felt was a suitable time I blew them out in the wee hours during a snow storm and issued the task for a cross country ski movement using the target language for the FRAGO with a link up time for transportation or failing that a long haul home by any other means they could muster. It tested several aspects of my PT program, made believers out of those who thought perhaps I was just issuing a wish list, and I led the first team of those in my C2 element who thought the perhaps this was just a team event. I think any PT program has to be interesting, have a purpose, be tested against actual requirements, and refined to meet unit and individual requirements and incorporate everyone in the organization in one way or another-but tailored to meet unit requirements. There has to be a common core, but one size does not fit all and it requires command presence, participation, and commitment. I think it has to have both and individual and a team component and it has to be part of the entire mission profile of the unit and not just an isolated aspect of meeting some common requirement. Just my way of doing things.

incommin
01-18-2007, 10:07
Don't think it will happen. Combat arms personnel who move by shoe power are the minority. The PT test is written for the whole Army, which includes such as clerks, medics, maintenance personnel... even combat support personnel move mostly in vehicles.... However, there is nothing wrong with a combat arms unit coming up with their own standards and test........... I did that prior to taking a platoon of engineers through a French Command Course.............


My .02

Jim

incommin
01-18-2007, 10:08
With all due respect, I cannot think of a single mandatory class, be it OPSEC, COO, Sexual Harassment, Drug and Alcohol Programs, or any of the other annual requirements that were worth the lost training time.

As the Colonel noted, if you are the type to abuse your position, sitting through a class is not going to change the way you think.

They might possibly be of value to a brand new soldier, but I cannot think of too many ODAs that benefited at all from them, and they wasted valuable time.

TR

"With all due respect"..... who were you addressing that to?

Jim

sg1987
01-18-2007, 10:10
2. Some kind of buddy carry type deal



NDD,
I can't see them asking that of female soldiers. Are you thinking only for the Infantry soldiers or across the board?

NousDefionsDoc
01-18-2007, 10:16
NDD,
I can't see them asking that of female soldiers. Are you thinking only for the Infantry soldiers or across the board?
"asking"? LOL. Soldiers protect democracy they don't practice it. ;)

I was just dreaming. It will never happen. We'll never even see the old 5 event test back.

The Reaper
01-18-2007, 10:39
Don't think it will happen. Combat arms personnel who move by shoe power are the minority. The PT test is written for the whole Army, which includes such as clerks, medics, maintenance personnel... even combat support personnel move mostly in vehicles.... However, there is nothing wrong with a combat arms unit coming up with their own standards and test........... I did that prior to taking a platoon of engineers through a French Command Course.............

My .02

Jim

Agree. I was thinking about how females would react when faced with a test that pointed out their physical weaknesses. Ruck up with 30% of your body weight and hump 12 miles in less than 3 hours? Very few will pass, and many men will fail as well.

"With all due respect"..... who were you addressing that to?

Jim

That was for you, hermano. You were doing this a long time before I was, and have a few years on me to boot.;)

TR

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-18-2007, 13:59
Don't think it will happen.
Jim

Certainly not Army wide, but SF folks have a lot of latitude to do what is necessary-passing the APFT is just one of those inconvenient blips on the semi-annual training schedule and amounts to an annoying measure of "physical fitness" needed for entries on efficiency reports so there is a common measure for Army wide promotion and evaluation boards in their quest to identify who has demonstrated the potential to move forward. In fact it measures only compliance with regulations and the ability to perform to a common standard under defined conditions and while it is a starting point we all know it is an insufficient measure of an appropriate level of physical fitness for many military functions. In my day, and in yours, there were not only different standards but different events for acceptance in airborne and ranger schools. Even the armor folks back in the late 70s introduced a PT test that involved tasks associated with being a tanker that had nothing to do with any other functions in any other branches, with the exception of perhaps mech infantry. Everyone knew that the PT program was broken then as it is now and while "it won't happen" Army wide it has happened in the past, did happen in my day, and without a doubt is happening today. I guess my point about all of this is that the days of the standardized APFT should be restricted to initial entry evaluations and the basic level requirement that says you are alive and can participate in the real PT programs at unit level. The measure of physical fitness, where the minimum requirement is the APFT, should be set by the unit commanders IAW mission requirements and failure to meet those requirements should be grounds for reclassification/reassignment as has been done in several units for as long as I can remember.

x SF med
01-18-2007, 14:57
Ruck up with 30% of your body weight and hump 12 miles in less than 3 hours? Very few will pass, and many men will fail as well.
TR

30% of body weight?? When I was on a Team, that would have given me about a 50# ruck. Mission load was a lot higher than that - closer to my body weight until we hit the ORP and could cache some gear.

I guess it would work for non CA troops though, except the fat boys would suffer intense pain, hehehehehe. Move, shoot, communicate - not always in that order.

The Reaper
01-18-2007, 15:16
30% of body weight?? When I was on a Team, that would have given me about a 50# ruck. Mission load was a lot higher than that - closer to my body weight until we hit the ORP and could cache some gear.

I guess it would work for non CA troops though, except the fat boys would suffer intense pain, hehehehehe. Move, shoot, communicate - not always in that order.

First, not everyone is troll-sized. I used to carry your full body weight in my ruck.

Second, we were speaking of a PT test that could be imposed Army-wide.

Finally, research has demonstrated the danger of injuries of training with excessive weight. You don't necessarily have to hurt yourself any more to train.

TR

x SF med
01-18-2007, 15:31
First, not everyone is troll-sized. I used to carry your full body weight in my ruck.

Ouch!!! That's gonna leave a mark. Troll sized? Gee thanks, Sir, I'm of average height / average build. (and not for a troll). Hell, I used to carry my body weight in my ruck, or close to it. And not everybody is as overgrown as Sneaky.:D

My thoughts are that an Army wide PT test might be a thing of the past, at least after initial entry into the service. There could possibly be Branch specific PT tests, based on mission type. A desk jockey supply pogue needs to be in shape, but not in the same shape as an Infantry soldier.

We mostly trained lighter than Mission Requirements, but did go full load occasionally to keep the muscle memory and keep used to moving that way.

Books
01-18-2007, 15:49
FWIW, PT in the SFMS program is a bit hit and miss, but during the Trauma section, we had what the TACs called Med PT. Run here, splint an arm. Run there, give an IV. Buddy carry, KTD. You get the point. Since so much of the course is time constrained (hence the spotty organized PT - if you don't PT on your own, you're a fool) this combination of PT and training was great for getting us to practice medicine while heaving and sweating.

Oh, and I have a PT test tomorrow morning. . .

Books

MatthewNC
01-18-2007, 15:54
If anyone is interested, here is the USMC's concept paper on transforming their PT program. http://www.mcwl.usmc.mil/file_download.cfm?filesource=c:%5CMCWL_Files%5CC_P %5CFunctional_Fitness_Concept_FINAL_061120.pdf
Makes for an interesting read. The most notable parts is that they " are arguing that fitness should follow function—that combat fitness should be functional for combat. A preparation effort in which a program based on functional movements executed with representative intensity of combat should be most effective.

I believe that the framework will be based on a CrossFit (www.crossfit.com) model. Their views on the PFT and use of organic equipment instead of fancy Nautilus machines and ellipticals is a great move.

Monsoon65
01-18-2007, 17:05
A desk jockey supply pogue needs to be in shape, but not in the same shape as an Infantry soldier....

The AF finally got off it's collective ass and started a decent PT test that has running, pushups and situps. About 20 years behind the power curve, but it's a nice start.

The AF has always said that "you need to be fit for the fight". True, 99% of the AF isn't going to be in direct combat, but I'd love to see the PT test include some sort of "skills" test in BDUs. Just some simple stuff like a carry/drag scenario.

I tell the guys and gals in my section that's probably something that they'll have to face in an emergency. We have guys that are 6', 200+ jocks and women that are five foot nothing and a buck ten soaking wet. I ask them if they are prepared to move someone out of the line of fire and to a helicopter or cover. (I kid them that I always stack the crew deck during deployments so I'm flying with the munchkins or skinny dudes for that reason.)

Surgicalcric
01-18-2007, 17:20
First, not everyone is troll-sized...

TR

Oh damn!!! Now thats gonna leave a mark...

Crip

kgoerz
01-18-2007, 17:31
Yes weight training doe's help with carrying the weight of a tactical vest, but after time your body just gets use to wearing it. I know when I start up work I notice the weight but after a week or so it is not even a factor. The real 1st Sgt from Band of Brothers came out to our Range for a demo and we asked what was the most difficult part of combat he said " The physical exhaustion part of it" He said after D-Day when they were back in England 10 to 15 mile runs and ruck's were common and no one bitched about it after being in Combat like they did before D-Day.

Surgicalcric
01-18-2007, 17:36
FWIW, PT in the SFMS program is a bit hit and miss, but during the Trauma section, we had what the TACs called Med PT...
Books

I surely hope to God you dont really consider Med-A PT real PT... The only thing it was good for was wasting my time in the morning when I could have been at the gym doing real PT on my own, as has been the case with any and all forms of organized PT since I have been in the Army.

Pushups, situps, and the 2-miler only measure an individuals ability to do 3 things. There are guys who can max the run but cant carry a ruck, guys who can do 80 PU's in 2 minutes but would be hard push themselves up from the prone wearing kit and guys who can do SU's til the sun sets but couldnt pull themselves over a wall or drag a buddy 50 meters...

As the good Colonel said, "the standardized APFT should be restricted to initial entry evaluations and the basic level requirement that says you are alive and can participate in the real PT programs at unit level." I dont believe there should be a standardized PT test, as standardized tests only test ones ability in a known range of exercises and dont test overall fitness.

just my .02 and well worth what you paid...

Crip

incommin
01-19-2007, 08:56
When I got to Vietnam I spent several days of physical activity....part of which was a timed ruck march uphill and downhill .......the nice little walk took place on an island in the middle of Camron Bay...... If you made it within a specific time you didn't have to repeat it..... I think it was a mile up and a mile back.

When I hit CCS a week or two later it took about three operations and I no longer felt the weight of the load I carried after the initial ten to twenty minutes of putting it all on...There were days when it was never taken off....even for sleep and rest.

Over the space of a military career..... we don't spend a lot of time in combat..... It is true that we need to train the way we fight..... but the body adapts very quickly....... the idea of organized physical training and a PT test is to try to maintain a minimum level of physical fitness..... Individuals in combat arms should maintain a higher level,,,,,,on their own, so that their bodies will adapt more quickly to the strains of combat requirements.....

I don't think there is a need to maintain the same fitness level that is required and necessary in combat during the 18 month to several years of peacetime training experienced in-between combat assignments. Over training can cause damage. Backs, knees, ankles, and feet will not last a lifetime if they are abused unnecessarily.

Jim

Kyobanim
01-19-2007, 09:23
Troll sized? Gee thanks, Sir, I'm of average height / average build.

Ahem, I agree with the average height part of that statement. :D

x SF med
01-19-2007, 09:33
Ahem, I agree with the average height part of that statement. :D

Bite me brother - said with all the love in the world - are you trying to imply that I am overweight? Oh, the pain!!! I was one of the thinner people at the show, if you remember correctly.....

Razor
01-19-2007, 16:37
Even the armor folks back in the late 70s introduced a PT test that involved tasks associated with being a tanker that had nothing to do with any other functions in any other branches...

Sir, would those tasks include maintaining no greater than a 36" distance from the vehicle at all times, the ability to drive over rough terrain without spilling one's coffee from an open-top mug, always having an FMC heater, and the ability for four men to fully consume a 12-man tray ration twice a day for at least two weeks? :D

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-19-2007, 18:24
Sir, would those tasks include maintaining no greater than a 36" distance from the vehicle at all times, the ability to drive over rough terrain without spilling one's coffee from an open-top mug, always having an FMC heater, and the ability for four men to fully consume a 12-man tray ration twice a day for at least two weeks? :D

Yup, and all the while wrapped comfortably inside 62 tons of homosexual steel:D

IIRC they had a track breaking timed task, ammo loading and hauling tasks, hefting fuel cans, and some other associated events. It was more akin to a team timed event sort of like military stakes-but then, as I said, they were tankers:D

Ambush Master
01-19-2007, 18:31
When I got to Vietnam I spent several days of physical activity....part of which was a timed ruck march uphill and downhill .......the nice little walk took place on an island in the middle of Camron Bay...... If you made it within a specific time you didn't have to repeat it..... I think it was a mile up and a mile back.


It was Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang Bay. There's a luxury resort there now!!

lksteve
01-19-2007, 19:04
First, not everyone is troll-sized. I used to carry your full body weight in my ruck.first he needs ritalin, now he's a troll...where's the love...?

but back to the question du jour...a 50# ruck, 20km, 3hrs...EIB standards...i suspect that would be a point of departure for determining fitness for a dismounted infantry type...heck, i seem to recall a speed march was 5 miles, 50minutes, LCE and weapon...that's another task-oriented test...

to me the test isn't as much the issue as the mind set...the PT test, as it stood when i was in, was no less combat related than the weapons qualification tables we fired from a concrete lined foxhole...both are raw indicators of fitness and marksmanship proficiency at a minimal standard...

i am not comfortable that Big Army can direct the necessary training at unit level...a mountain detachment's conditioning requirements are very different from a combat swim detachment's (speaking of areas where i have experience, here)...a mountain teams's conditioning requirements for winter ops are a little different than they are for summer ops...

i would opine that commanders at the operational level (A-detachment) should be given the latitude and held accountable for that training...

my $0.02...

Razor
01-19-2007, 22:27
IIRC they had a track breaking timed task, ammo loading and hauling tasks, hefting fuel cans, and some other associated events. It was more akin to a team timed event sort of like military stakes-but then, as I said, they were tankers:D

As much as I like to give tankers grief, all those tasks you mentioned are certainly no easy physical feat (especially if you break track 2' deep in Hohenfels 'glue-mud'), and I do give them credit for being able to accomplish those tasks, on little sleep, in the middle of the night...especially when I got to watch them do it through NVGs while checking my dismounts' defensive positions. ;)

Jack Moroney (RIP)
01-20-2007, 05:03
[QUOTE=Razor] Hohenfels 'glue-mud'QUOTE]

Ach du Lieber Himmel-Hohenfels! The only place in the world where you can eat dust, be up to you 4th POC in mud and water, the sun will be shinning, the wind blowing and it will be snowing like hell!

Cincinnatus
01-20-2007, 07:34
Except for the dust that sounds like Vermont in March! LOL

Outside my lane here, but I overheard sev'l Norwich cadets (at the Tunbridge Worlds' Fair) having a conversation along these lines (i.e., what should be done to improve PT so it would better represent actual tasks on the battlefield) they seemed to think that adding dips (similar to pulling oneself over a wall), Hindu squats (can't recall why), and carrying a sandfilled duffel bag (simulating a wounded buddy) up sev'l flights of stairs were good ideas. The dips and Hindu squats would, I should think be something that could be easily added, though the duffel bag would require stairs (and I would think, weigh a lot less than a wounded soldier w/ gear.)

Do I understand correctly that the Army tests push ups, but not pull ups and the Marines test pull ups only? Is there a particular reason for this?

TIA

incommin
01-20-2007, 07:40
It was Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang Bay. There's a luxury resort there now!!

Well there you go....... I was lost my first two weeks in country..... And very glad I was in sufficient shape to only have to do that walk once!

Jim

sg1987
01-20-2007, 11:24
As much as I like to give tankers grief, all those tasks you mentioned are certainly no easy physical feat (especially if you break track 2' deep in Hohenfels 'glue-mud'), and I do give them credit for being able to accomplish those tasks, on little sleep, in the middle of the night...especially when I got to watch them do it through NVGs while checking my dismounts' defensive positions. ;)


Hohenfels, That’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Spent some wonderful winter vacations there.
Took a nice helicopter ride there once and was dropped off into really deep snow for a nice long stroll. I had the pleasure of humpimg a TOW T&E for some 11H’s in addition to my gear. No one bothered to tell the cherry private that canteens were to be carried INSIDE the parka!
After the stroll our tour guide allowed a water break and to my surprise I now have two nice canteens of ice. With the steam rising off my head I hit the prone and began my imitation of a snowplow. That’s when the tour guide begins to lecture me about the importance of not eating snow. Oh for the good times…

Razor
01-21-2007, 21:37
Getting slightly back on topic, I can't exactly recall but sometime around late 1999/early 2000 the Army Physical Fitness School released the draft 3-25.20 on their website that was to replace the old FM 21-20, "Physical Fitness Training". 3-25.20 directly addressed the concept of functional fitness, and suggested a complete overhaul of both the APFT and the guidance for regular unit training. An example of this change in mindset can be seen in Chapter 1 (PRT Philosophy): "Army PRT must incorporate those types of training activities that directly support warfighting tasks. This is why PRT activities must include such fundamental skills as climbing, crawling and running that contribute to success in the more complex skills of obstacle negotiation, combatives and militarymovement."

Less than a year after it hit the street, the expected publish date changed from 12 months to "pending", and shortly thereafter the document was pulled from the school's website, with little heard about it since. Even if the Marines weren't the "first" to get the ball rolling, at least they're closer to implementation of a functional fitness program than the Army (as a whole) seemed to be able to get.

bailaviborita
01-22-2007, 02:26
How about doing the JAN 21 Crossfit workout as a functional test:

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

No resting. 40 minutes for me.

smanders
01-22-2007, 10:28
We used to adapt the Crossfit workouts to whatever we had laying around the hooch. That is until the "Powers-That-Be" saw a couple NCOs vomiting during PT and put the kibosh on that.

Too bad, because the stuff works for just about ever occupation...

Surgicalcric
01-22-2007, 21:16
We used to adapt the Crossfit workouts... ...until the "Powers-That-Be" saw a couple NCOs vomiting during PT and put the kibosh on that...

You guys not explain to "the powers that be" vomitting is a good thing... :lifter

Crip

bailaviborita
01-23-2007, 02:22
Gee- so if only that SF MSG had vomited instead of had a heart attack, they'd ban the 2 mile APFT run! :rolleyes:

Books
01-23-2007, 14:45
A buddy of mine who ran cross country at Montana State U. said that if you didn't vomit at the end of the race, you didn't run hard enough. . .

The Reaper
01-23-2007, 16:06
A buddy of mine who ran cross country at Montana State U. said that if you didn't vomit at the end of the race, you didn't run hard enough. . .

Finished many a PT test that way.

As long as you don't spew till after the 2 mile run, you are GTG.

Losing it during the Sit-Up event is bound to make paople unhappy. Especially the person holding your feet.

TR

Razor
01-23-2007, 20:35
Gee- so if only that SF MSG had vomited instead of had a heart attack, they'd ban the 2 mile APFT run! :rolleyes:

Wouldn't have made a difference, most likely. We had a relatively young 19D (24yo, IIRC) die in 1994 after a Scout plt run when I was in Germany. Congenital heart failure according to the autopsy; nothing anyone could have done, :...and the Army goes 2-mile running along."

smanders
01-24-2007, 07:03
From TR: "Losing it during the Sit-Up event is bound to make people unhappy."...

That is HILARIOUS! Thankfully I've never seen it happen.

x SF med
01-24-2007, 08:11
first he needs ritalin, now he's a troll...where's the love...?

Dai-Ui - this is SF , Bah on Love - get the job done- if you aren't getting verbally whupped by your Teamies, you're doing something wrong. although the ritalin comment was a little rough, I can't do anything abut the troll like qualities of my stature or personalilty. Ask Gunner and TS.

x SF med
01-24-2007, 08:15
Losing it during the Sit-Up event is bound to make paople unhappy. Especially the person holding your feet.

TR

Seen it happen, not a pretty sight. Although the guys got a clear berth during the run for some reason..... :rolleyes: